Nebraska struggles to fund mental health services

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) _ A Nebraska lawmaker says the state is struggling to offer mental health services as it moves from state-run regional centers to locally run operations.

The state made the decision to switch from institution care to local programs more than a decade ago.

Sen. Paul Schumacher says that while the state has saved money by closing regional centers, local programs haven’t received enough funding. Schumacher says that’s led to a “real deficiency” in mental health services, particularly in rural communities.

Sen. John Stinner says there isn’t money in the budget to fund the programs. The state is projected to have a $195 million revenue shortfall for the 2017-19 budget.

Deputy Platte County Attorney Elizabeth Lay says the state needs to rethink its mental health care system and focus on individual care.